It’s been a crazy spring and far too long since I went on and blogged about a farm tour. I had the pleasure of being invited on the Best Food Facts TASTE: Unearthing the art of science and food tour, for food and agriculture bloggers in Davis, California last week. The second day of our tour in California took us near Woodland, California in Yolo County where the Saelee family farms.
Newt, a third generation farmer, told us that his grandparents came to Canada from Laos during the Vietnam war and worked hard to start their family farm in California. He, like many young men who grow up in a farming family, didn’t always want to farm (just like my husband) but he appreciates it more now and has decided to farm with his family. He said he has aspirations of attending UC Davis, the top agriculture university in the world, to learn more about agriculture and perhaps even create a new variety of strawberries.
The strawberry farm solely relies on labour within the family for planting, maintaining and harvesting their crops as well as running their market. Newt’s mom was up since 5:00 AM picking strawberries with his aunt on the day of our tour; all strawberries and other fruits and vegetables are harvested by hand. They were picking their summer variety of strawberries Albion, as their growing season is about three weeks ahead and they were mostly done picking their Chandler spring variety.
Newt told us that the Albion variety is best when eaten right away and very good for jam. It doesn’t have traits that are conducive to shipping/traveling well as they do not have a good shelf life. Too bad, because we got to pick baskets of them and eat them straight from the field and I’ve never tasted a strawberry like that before. Warm in the California sun, fresh off the plant…they tasted so sweet like they were coated in brown sugar.
Another management practice that is essential to their farm, especially with the drought in California, is the use of plastic mulch and the installation of drip irrigation, as Newt is pointing out to us here with his mom Tchang.
I think I can speak for the majority (if not all!) of our group and say that we thoroughly enjoyed our tour. It was very informative and I appreciate the Saelee family opening up their proverbial doors to give their very first farm tour.
Disclosure: This trip and my expenses were paid for, this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.